By Maimuna Sey-Jawo
Money launderers and terrorism financiers are increasingly using Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) to carry out their illicit activities, Solicitor General Cherno Marena said yesterday.
He said because of this, it is “very important” that they identify the vulnerabilities in their institutions in order to fix them.
The solicitor general made the remarks at the opening of a training programme for lawyers, accountants notaries and independent practitioners. The training seeks to harmonise the implementation of preventive measures on money laundering, in The Gambia and within the West Africa sub-region.
Marena said The Gambia has taken “giant steps” to put in legal, institutional and other measures to fight money laundering and terrorism financing in the country.
“Among these steps is the enactment of the Anti-Terrorism Act in 2002 which was followed by the enactment of the Money Laundering Act 2003,” he explained.
However, he said it is important to improve on the capacities of the DNFBPs in the country in order to enhance their understanding of anti-money laundering and combatting of financing of terrorism regime issues.
“It will also better position them [DNFBPs] in championing the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing,” he stated.
The director of Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Ministry of Finance, Alagie Darboe, said the aim of the training was to improve the anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism regimes in West African states.
“Money laundering and terrorism financing are serious menaces to society with very detrimental impacts on our national economy,” Darboe warned. “This is especially true for Africa, where predicate offences such as drug trafficking, fraud, tax evasion, human trafficking, bribery and corruption are very much prevalent,” he noted.
Baba Barrow, chief executive officer of the Gambia Institute of Chartered Accountants, said the outcome of the training will inform decision-making by stakeholders to not only implement systems that conform to international best practices, but also promote the integrity and soundness of Gambian financial systems.
The training was organised by the FIU under its Strengthening Anti-Money Laundering Capacities in West Africa Project and funded by the EU and the Inter- Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West African (Giaba).